Farnham Extinction Rebellion –
People’s Assembly Theories of Change – Feedback
On 11th February 2020, Farnham XR group held a People’s Assembly (PA) to deliberate on three different Theories of Change (ToC) that we are currently using to achieve XR’s aims addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE)
The PA began with a ‘teach in’ on People’s Assemblies (how to) and Theories of Change (the topic for deliberation). We broke into 3 groups, each group focussed on one ToC and each selecting a question out of three suggested questions
Q2. Should we focus on one or many individuals? Who should we concentrate our efforts on?
– We need to think about the capacity of influencer – what organisations or groups are they already involved in? what authority and influence do they already have?
– We should be targeting newspapers and the media (Daily Mail, radio 4?)
– We can influence councils, orgs, friends and family to divest from fossil fuels
– Influence young people/ gamers through games like Minecraft
– Target think-tanks. Take over Momentum and recruit our own Dominic Cummings (?!)
Personal Transformation (PT) ToC
Q1. Can Personal Transformation have and impact and tackle CEE at a local or planetary level? Considerations: -vulnerable aspects within communities, dominant human ecosystems, population minorities
– Make it inclusive – it is possible to get lots of people to change
through community activities such as arts and rewilding
– We need to understand barriers in communication – cognitive dissonance regarding the scale of the CEE
– There seem to be a climate psychosis (climate anxiety?) going on – adults are bewildered, children are angry – We need to get people together in dialogue
– We can lead by example
NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action) ToC
Q1. By doing NVDA how do XR win the public’s vote of confidence when most people in UK do not feel threatened or affected by the injustices XR talks about?
– NVDA has to a balance between disruptive action vs inclusive “softer” family friendly actions eg. Big marches and demonstrations, non-arrestable actions
– We need to target action towards big polluters eg. Fossil fuel companies and airports
– Addressing our own hypocrisy – we should try to live what we represent
All the Theories of Change
Questions asked to the assembly as a whole group
Q. What are the tensions and conflicts that arise using multiple ToCs?
● I don’t think we should feel guilty. We are doing the best we can
● Tensions arose following the Canning Town action
● I think that three ToCs can coexist (and do quite happily) They are all strings to the bow
● We need to make XR accessible to all
● We need the public to feel the emergency. We need NVDA as the action reflects that we are running out of time.
● The sharp end of NVDA has alienated some. Need the messaging and creativity (quieter activities) to have equal weight
● Focus on local actions – reacting to Horse Hill, Exxon pipeline etc keeping pressure on fossil
● There are contradictions and conflict within Farnham Group
● Avoiding burnout by being selective choosing actions to get behind
● (Comment on delayed comms around national actions) Short notice for big action could
backfire if there aren’t enough people on the march in February
● Government and regulators need to be influenced/targetted
● Ecological issues are being ignored, education is not being addressed (Italy and France are
leading the way with education)
● Local authorities are lacking funds from central Government to address ecological and
climate change issues due to austerity Q. What can do/ how can we improve?
● Big walking groups and litter pick – fundraising, raising awareness
● Community events and activities eg Sustainability Fayre, Climate Cafe, Eco Cinema,
Rewilding activities and Arts events
● Need to relay stories of gross polluting to the public. Whistleblowing
● Messaging needs to be clear – We need to be able to engage people in the narrative
● – Danger of polarisation, want to avoid XR vs the public
General comments and feedback on the ToC PA process itself
● Rebels felt the PA process and questions raised by the Sustainability Stewardship Team send a positive message about inclusivity and democracy within the movement
● Embrace the hypocrite, be the change you want to see.
● Importance of listening to each other
● Each persons opinion is valuable
● Slightly overwhelming
● Positive hearing different voices and opinions
● Good to know that the strategy isn’t fixed, it is evolving
● Would like to see the strategy come together
● Need to convince the people who voted for Brexit (the fearful? The disaffected?)
● XR needs to say what success looks like – what system change looks like – positive
narrative around change
● When will XR no longer need to exist? (when will our demands been met?
● If we keep being the best version of ourselves we will get there
● We are currently dealing with the impact of Climate Change, so adaptation is becoming more important as a focus
● Good experience of radical democracy gives hope that things can change
Thanks to everyone who took part love and rebellion
Peppy and Gareth